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December 2, 2012

TU to face Iowa St. in Liberty Bowl

The Iowa State Cyclones will square off against the Tulsa Golden Hurricane in the 54th AutoZone Liberty Bowl on Monday, December 31, 2012 at 2:30 p.m. (CST). The game will be televised by ESPN.

It will be the second meeting this year between the two schools. Tulsa and Iowa State opened the 2012 season in Ames, Iowa on September 1st in Ames Iowa, as the Cyclones came away with a 38-23 victory.

Iowa State will be marking the 40th anniversary of its first and only appearance in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl in 1972. The Cyclones played Georgia Tech in the 1972 game and were coached by Johnny Majors.

This will be Tulsa's second trip to the AutoZone Liberty Bowl. The Golden Hurricane defeated Fresno State in the 2005 game 31-24. Tulsa earned its spot in this year's AutoZone Liberty Bowl with a 33-27 overtime win over UCF in the C-USA Championship game.

This matchup will be the second time this year that the Hurricane has faced an opponent twice. Tulsa played UCF on Nov. 17th and again in the C-USA Championship Game two weeks later. It also marks the first time that Tulsa has played two opponents twice in a season since 1929 when the Hurricane played Phillips University twice and Oklahoma City twice.

The bowl appearance for Tulsa is the 19th in school history and the eighth time in the last 10 years. Iowa State is making the schools' 12th bowl game appearance and second consecutive bowl. Last year, Tulsa lost in the waning seconds against BYU in the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl, while Iowa State dropped a 27-13 decision against Rutgers in the Pinstripe Bowl.

Bill Blankenship, Tulsa Head Coach:

"We're excited to be representing Conference USA as the league champion in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl and having the opportunity to play a very good Iowa State team for a second time this season. It's ironic that we opened the year at Iowa State and now will close the season with the Cyclones. This bowl game has such a tremendous and storied history and the fact that it helps honor all the work done at the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital makes it all the more gratifying to be a part of this great bowl experience. We're thrilled to be going to Memphis. I attended Tulsa's appearance in the 2005 Liberty Bowl game as fan, and now I can't wait to go back with this team. It has been an exciting season for our players, coaches and fans and trust that Golden Hurricane fans will flock to Memphis on New Year's Eve for what should be a great football game.

"There's no question that Iowa State is well-coached and obviously, like us, have gone through transition since we met in the season opener. Iowa State has tremendous talent on their football team and played an excellent schedule in the Big 12 Conference. Coach Rhoads has done an outstanding job in his four seasons. It will be a great challenge for our football team."

Paul Rhoads, Iowa State Head Coach:

"Our football team is extremely enthusiastic about the opportunity to play in one of college football's most historic bowl games. We are honored to represent the Big 12 and participate in a bowl with the outstanding reputation of the AutoZone Liberty Bowl. I am excited that our fans can drive to the site, support our team and enjoy the festivities. Memphis will be colored Cardinal and Gold for the New Year!"

Jamie Pollard, Iowa State Director of Athletics:

"We are thrilled to accept a bid to the AutoZone Liberty Bowl. Because of the game's storied history, its New Year's Eve playing date, national TV exposure, a chance to play a league champion, and the fact Memphis will be an affordable and drivable trip for many Cyclone fans, it's a great destination for the Cyclones. More than 40,000 Iowa State alums live within a day's drive of the AutoZone Liberty Bowl and we fully expect ISU alums and students to take advantage of the close proximity and have a huge presence on Beale Street before and after the game."

Steve Ehrhart, Executive Director of the AutoZone Liberty Bowl:

"We're proud to welcome back Iowa State to the AutoZone Liberty Bowl on the 40th anniversary of their only trip to our game when legendary coach Johnny Majors led the Cyclones against Georgia Tech."

"This is a wonderful opportunity to host a representative team from the Big 12 Conference, one of the most powerful and prestigious conferences in the country."

"Iowa State has great fans. They set an all-time season record for average home attendance this year at 55,275. This will be closest bowl destination for Iowa State and their fans. We look forward to the Cyclones and their fans ringing in the New Year on Beale Street, which will have a huge economic impact for the Memphis community."

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